Contrary to the expectations of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Oladimeji Bankole from Ogun State, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s kinsman this morning emerged as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives. Bankole scored 304 votes to beat Jolaoye who scored only 20 votes. There were four abstentions. As at the time of filing this report, Hon. Usman Bayero Nafada, from Gombe state was returned unopposed as the deputy speaker.He was nominated by Hon. Friday Itula from Edo State. He was returned unopposed.
Both the Speaker and the deputy were sworn in at exactly 1:34pm by the Clerk of the House.
The PDP leadership had yesterday directed its members who are in the majority to vote for Hon. George Jolaoye from Osun State as the new speaker to replace the disgraced former speaker, Patricia Etteh, who was also from Osun State.
Hon. Dimeji who enjoys popular support from members of the Umar Farouk Lawan-led Integrity Group and other opposition members was nominated by Sam Osagie (Edo) and was seconded by Hon. Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu (Anambra).
The PDP anointed candidate, Hon. Jolaoye, was nominated by Hon. Abass Adeogun and seconded by Ajibade Michael.
The voting, which started at about 11.30 a.m., witnessed a mild drama as most pro-Etteh supporters, including the principal officers that were elected during her turbulent tenure voted Bankole as the new speaker.
Even Dino Melaye, a staunch supporter of Etteh, voted for Bankole.
Etteh voted for her kinsman, Jolaoye along with a few of her supporters.
The election was conducted by the Clerk of the House, Nasiru Arab, under the watchful eyes of the Speaker extempore, Terngu Tsegba.
Before the election started, the Speaker pro-tempore, Tsegba, gave what could be regarded as his valedictory speech, by asking members to eschew bitterness and rancour in the choice of a new speaker.
Tsegba admonished his colleagues, saying collectively they had inflicted pains on Nigerians as a result of the contract scandal which rocked the House.
He called for a new spirit of cooperation that would heal the wounds of the past.
According to him, there is no victor, no vanquished.